UFC cancels UFC 151, conveniently puts all blame on Jon Jones

nullIn case you have been under a rock today, UFC 151 has been cancelled.

The short story is Dan Henderson injured his knee and couldn’t fight next Saturday, prompting the UFC to offer Jon Jones a replacement opponent of Chael Sonnen. Jones, after speaking with his team, declined to take the fight on such short notice.

So, the UFC, instead of finding a new main event, or just running with the card they setup sans the main event, decided to just axe the event altogether.

In the process, they completely threw the light heavyweight champion under the bus.

Normally, I am on Dana White’s side of things. He is a hot head, no doubt, but he usually tells it like it is.

However, blaming Jones for the canceling of an event is simply a convenient way to take the blame off of himself and the UFC.

First off, canceling an entire UFC event is a big deal. It impacts the fighters, the venue, the host city and those that would be working the event.

Many fighters rely on a small paycheck from fighting on the under card simply to make ends meet. Due to the UFC’s venom spewed at Jones, many of those fighters are now taking their anger and frustration out on the champion as well.

But, let’s all take a deep breath and take into consideration two things:

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UFC on FOX: Velasquez vs. Dos Santos Preview

nullThe UFC makes its national television debut on FOX Saturday night with one of the biggest heavyweight fights in the history of the organization as Cain Velasquez defends his heavyweight championship against Junior dos Santos.

Coming into the fight, the oddsmakers like the champion Velasquez to retain, as he has a money line of -190 to win on Saturday night. Dos Santos comes in with odds of +155. These two will clash from the Honda Center in Anaheim at 9 p.m. ET live on FOX.

Here is a look at both fighters and my pick for the winner.

Cain Velasquez (9-0) – The former wrestler from Arizona State is unbeaten in his short MMA career and he holds wins over top fighters like Cheick Kongo, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, and Brock Lesnar. Velasquez started as a wrestler, but has quickly developed his boxing and turned into one of the top knockout artists in the division. The questions for the champion coming in are his conditioning and health, as he is coming off rotator cuff surgery that has sidelined him for over a year. His longest fight in the UFC is 15 minutes and he struggled to make it to the end there, so if this fight goes deep, he could be in rough shape.

Junior dos Santos (13-1) – The Brazilian is 7-0 in the UFC and holds wins over the likes of Fabricio Werdum, Mirko CroCop, Roy Nelson, and Shane Carwin. Junior is a powerful striker that likes to throw heavy punches. His uppercut has been his signature strike to finish opponents, but he also works in devastating body shots. A black belt in jiu-jitsu as well, dos Santos hasn’t had to show those skills because he has been able to dominate fights standing. The test for him in this fight will be whether or not he is able to stuff the takedowns of Velasquez, as he has not faced a tough wrestler in the octagon. Like Velasquez, dos Santos hasn’t been pushed past 15 minutes yet, so fatigue could be an issue if this bout reaches the championship rounds.

Who Will Win? – This fight could go 25 minutes and it could go 25 seconds. Both fighters have a lot of explosiveness to them but both also have some big questions coming in. Ultimately, I feel Velasquez’ striking is closer to matching dos Santos’ as opposed to dos Santos’ wrestling being anywhere near Velasquez’. I think both fighters will land some early strikes, but Velasquez will be the one to get the fight to the ground and control Junior from there. I am actually going to be part of the minority that sees this fight going the distance due to Velasquez going with the wrestling.

Nate Marquardt fails physical, fired by UFC less than 24 hours before fight

nullPer MMABlitz.com, in a big blow to the UFC Live 4 card, headliner Nate Marquardt will not be able to compete against Rick Story on Sunday after failing the pre-fight physical.

Following the failed physical, UFC President posted this, stating Marquardt will no longer be with the UFC

MMAJunkie.com was the first to report on the matter

MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) has learned that Marquardt is a late scratch from Sunday’s UFC on Versus 4 event, and opponent Rick Story (13-3 MMA, 6-1 UFC) will now instead meet Charlie Brenneman (12-2 MMA, 2-1 UFC) on the evening’s main card.

With the late change, a highly-anticipated heavyweight bout between Pat Barry (6-2 MMA, 3-2 UFC) and Cheick Kongo (15-6-2 MMA, 8-4-1 UFC) has now been promoted to main-event status.

The reason for Marquardt’s last-minute withdrawal, mere hours before he was scheduled to hit the scales at the event’s official weigh-ins, wasn’t immediately evident. However, Marquardt’s camp did release a statement insisting the setback was temporary and his future still lies at 170 pounds.

“Nate is really disappointed,” the statement read. “He really was looking forward to making his welterweight debut, and he plans to be back in there as soon as possible.”

Brenneman is the replacement, but that probably won’t suit Story, who took this fight on short notice for a chance to really thrust himself into the title picture. This fight seems like a lose-lose situation for Story.

For Marquardt, it is hard to know what will happen next, but clearly there is still more to this story.

The purchase of Strikeforce a major landmark in MMA history

As HeavyMMA.com points out, Zuffa’s purchase of Strikeforce moves us one step closer to seeing the best fighters in the world competing against each other.

There are seminal moments is everyone’s life where they remember exactly where they were and what they were doing when something historic happened.

Saturday morning, I was sitting at the desk in my office, working on a piece for UFC 128 when the news broke that Zuffa, the parent company of the UFC, had purchased Strikeforce.

Think I’m over-extending by calling this move historic? Think again.

While UFC President Dana White repeatedly told MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani “it’s business as usual” in the video interview that broke the news to the masses, the truth is that this deal dramatically changes the landscape of mixed martial arts moving forward. The two premier organizations in MMA may continue to run as separate and distinct entities for now, but the business of mixed martial arts has forever been changed by this announcement.

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UFC 126: Pre-Fight Interviews

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